A CCTV system's most basic purpose is to provide monitoring and surveillance of an area. This surveillance helps to deter illegal activity by offering the threat of prosecution, and documents the activity of those individuals not swayed by the presence of the CCTV system. It also helps to monitor situations, ranging from large gatherings to more personal uses such as elderly patients with health conditions. Constant monitoring allows for immediate alert and response in cases of emergency, or evidence in legal cases.
A basic CCTV system consists of three components: a camera, monitor and recording or storage device. These pieces of equipment connect with coaxial cables or wireless signals, which carry the image data the camera captures for viewing and recording. Different styles and varieties of cameras are available depending upon your specific surveillance needs, including outdoor models, zoom cameras and dome types.
As well as assisting with detection, CCTV can also act as a deterrent. A building or an area with CCTV installed becomes a less attractive target if an offender is aware that his or her actions may be observed and recorded. Public support for CCTV is strong. People appreciate the importance of CCTV in the prevention and detection of crime and may lobby for its installation in areas where anti-social behaviour is an issue.
CCTV also contributes greatly to the fight against terrorism. Its value as a surveillance tool is immeasurable. Being able to monitor suspicious behaviour gives the police and the security services a greater ability to stop terrorist activity in its tracks and protect the public from harm.